Mixing Prints and Patterns: How to Wear Different Patterns Together

Nothing says 'fashionista' quite like the ability to mix prints. When you take two or more very different pieces and make them work together in a chic and cool way - that's when you can call yourself a fashion expert.

Pairing clashing prints seems scary, but it's actually easier than it looks. Read on for a few tips and rules to get you started on mix-and-matching or help you get to that pro level.

How to wear different patterns together

1. Look at the colors colors, not patterns

Start by matching not prints, but colors. If the colors of your outfit look good together, most probably the patterns on those pieces will work together too. When in doubt, you can never go wrong with black and white.

2. Stick to one color palette

When you clash patterns, it's a safe bet to stick to similar tones. For instance, pair pastels with pastels.

3. Match at least one color

To create a streamlined look, make sure that the patterned pieces you're matching share at least one color that brings the whole look together. In the look below, the striped top and the floral skirt share the color black.

4. Spread patterns evenly across your look

If you're not quite there yet to layer a printed jacket over a top in a clashing pattern, try spreading the prints more evenly across your outfit and go with one pattern on the top and another one on the bottom.


5. Add printed accessories

Start small by incorporating printed accessories to the outfit that already features some pattern. Using a plaid scarf or leopard shoes is always a good idea.

6. Break rules and be confident

Be adventurous and don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Just do it with confidence! If you own your look in a craziest combination, you're a trendsetter.

Now we're on to more specific tips - what patterns work good together. Below are some of the most common combinations. But again, feel free to experiment!

What patterns go with floral

1. Stripes

In the world of mix-and-matching prints, stripes are a neutral. They go with absolutely everything. When pairing florals with stripes, go for the patterns in different sizes, so that one of them is dominant. For instance, combine large flowers with small stripes or vice versa, big stripes with a detailed floral print.

Women's Green Floral Short Sleeve Blouse, White and Black Horizontal Striped Mini Skirt, Green Leather Tote Bag, White and Black Bracelet
This pairing of a green floral short sleeve blouse and a white and black horizontal striped mini skirt combines comfort and efficiency and helps keep it low profile yet modern.View Details

2. Polka Dot

Women's Light Blue Polka Dot Dress Shirt, Navy Floral Skater Skirt, Dark Brown Leopard Sunglasses
This off-duty combo of a light blue polka dot dress shirt and a navy floral skater skirt is super easy to put together in next to no time, helping you look stylish and prepared for anything without spending too much time searching through your wardrobe.View Details
Women's Black and White Polka Dot Long Sleeve Blouse, Yellow Floral Skater Skirt, Black Leather Wedge Pumps, White and Black Sunglasses
A black and white polka dot long sleeve blouse and a yellow floral skater skirt? This is easily a wearable look that anyone can sport on a day-to-day basis. Introduce black leather wedge pumps to this ensemble and you're all done and looking smashing.View Details
Monica Bellucci wearing Black and White Polka Dot Long Sleeve Blouse, Black Floral Pencil Skirt, Black Suede Pumps, Black Knit Handbag
This combo of a black and white polka dot long sleeve blouse and a black floral pencil skirt is solid proof that a safe casual getup can still look totaly stylish. The whole look comes together brilliantly when you introduce black suede pumps to the mix.View Details

3. Letter Print

Floral prints on skirts and trousers look great paired with text printed tops.

4. Double Florals

When you do uncoordinated floral patterns on top and bottom, go for floral prints in different sizes - for instance, small, intricate flowers on the top and large elements on the skirt.

Women's Mint Floral Short Sleeve Blouse, Burgundy Floral Midi Skirt, Red Satin Heeled Sandals, Black and Gold Leather Clutch
For a casual look, go for a mint floral short sleeve blouse and a burgundy floral midi skirt — these items go perfectly well together. Hesitant about how to round off? Add red satin heeled sandals to the equation to rev up the style factor.View Details

What patterns go with polka dot

Polka dot is a pattern of perfectly even and sized circles that became common on clothing in the late 19th century in the United Kingdom. It's easy to combine polka dots with other prints, especially if you opt for a polka dot shirt and treat it as a solid top.

1. Stripes

2. Graphic Print

3. Check

4. Leopard

Women's Brown Leopard Crew-neck Sweater, Black and White Polka Dot Pencil Skirt, Black Leather Heeled Sandals
The versatility of a brown leopard crew-neck sweater and a black and white polka dot pencil skirt means they'll be on permanent rotation. Go ahead and introduce black leather heeled sandals to this look for an added touch of chic.View Details

5. Polka Dots on Polka Dots

Women's Light Blue Polka Dot Short Sleeve Button Down Shirt, Navy and White Polka Dot Skater Skirt, Brown Woven Leather Belt
Uber chic, this combo of a light blue polka dot short sleeve button down shirt and a navy and white polka dot skater skirt will provide you with wonderful styling possibilities.View Details

What patterns go with stripes

As we have mentioned above, stripes go with just about everything. Some of the combinations were covered above and some other to consider are below.

1. Floral

Women's White and Red Horizontal Striped Crew-neck T-shirt, Blue Floral Full Skirt, Gold Cutout Leather Pumps
Team a white and red horizontal striped crew-neck t-shirt with a blue floral full skirt for an absolutely stylish outfit that's also easy to wear. Wondering how to finish off? Introduce gold cutout leather pumps to your outfit to rev up the glamour factor.View Details

2. Polka Dot

A horizontal striped top and a polka dot skirt is a classic, always winning combination.

3. Letter or Graphic Print

4. Check

5. Camo

6. Leopard

6. Stripes on Stripes

Horizontal stripes paired with vertical, large stripes with small, black and white stripes against colorful stripes, or two pieces in same sized stripes - anything goes!

Women's White and Black Horizontal Striped Crew-neck Sweater, White and Black Horizontal Striped Pencil Skirt, Aquamarine Leather Heeled Sandals, Gold Watch
This relaxed combo of a white and black horizontal striped crew-neck sweater and a white and black horizontal striped pencil skirt is extremely easy to put together in no time, helping you look amazing and prepared for anything without spending a ton of time searching through your wardrobe. A chic pair of aquamarine leather heeled sandals is an easy way to add an added touch of polish to your ensemble.View Details
Women's White and Navy Horizontal Striped Coat, White and Navy Horizontal Striped Skater Dress, Black Suede Ankle Boots, Red Leopard Leather Clutch
Rock a white and navy horizontal striped coat with a white and navy horizontal striped skater dress if you wish to look edgy and casual without too much work. Why not add a pair of black suede ankle boots to this outfit for a dose of class?View Details
Women's White Vertical Striped Crew-neck T-shirt, Black and White Vertical Striped Midi Skirt
This combo of a white vertical striped crew-neck t-shirt and a black and white vertical striped midi skirt is the ideal balance between practical and stylish.View Details
Women's White and Black Horizontal Striped Coat, White and Black Horizontal Striped Crew-neck T-shirt, Navy Skinny Jeans, Black Studded Leather Heeled Sandals
Why not consider teaming a white and black horizontal striped coat with navy skinny jeans? Both of these items are super functional and will look cool matched together. To bring a bit of glam to this outfit, add a pair of black studded leather heeled sandals to the equation.View Details
Women's White and Navy Horizontal Striped Sleeveless Top, White and Navy Vertical Striped Capri Pants, Navy Crochet Heeled Sandals
This laid-back combo of a white and navy horizontal striped sleeveless top and white and navy vertical striped capri pants couldn't possibly come across as anything other than seriously chic. Put a different spin on an otherwise utilitarian outfit by wearing a pair of navy crochet heeled sandals.View Details

What patterns go with leopard

Leopard can be paired with almost any other print. You can always play it safe by adding leopard printed shoes or a clutch in animal spots to an outfit that already features some other print.

1. Stripes

As two 'neutral' patterns, leopard and stripes work wonderfully together. Note how in the look below, the grey color in the leopard top and in between the stripes on the shorts brings the whole outfit together.

2. Check

3. Letter or Graphic Print

4. Floral

Women's Black and White Floral Long Sleeve Blouse, White and Black Leopard Mini Skirt, Beige Leather Heeled Sandals
Fashionable and comfortable, this pairing of a black and white floral long sleeve blouse and a white and black leopard mini skirt delivers endless styling opportunities. With footwear, go for something on the dressier end of the spectrum with a pair of beige leather heeled sandals.View Details

5. Camo

A leopard clutch is an amazingly versatile accessory that looks great against any other clothes in a clashing pattern, including a camouflage printed parka, shirt or jeans.

6. Leopard on Leopard

For a bold, stand-out look, try pairing two leopard pieces in clashing colors.

Rihanna wearing Tan Leopard Crew-neck Sweater, Red Leopard Mini Skirt, Black Leather Pumps
For effortless style without the need to sacrifice on comfort, we like this relaxed casual pairing of a tan leopard crew-neck sweater and a red leopard mini skirt. In the footwear department, go for something on the classier end of the spectrum and finish this outfit with black leather pumps.View Details

What patterns go with chevron

Chevron is a bold pattern in the form of an inverted V-shape. Curiously, this zigzag print works perfectly with a variety of other patterns.

1. Stripes

Women's Black and White Chevron Sleeveless Top, Black Pencil Skirt, Black and White Horizontal Striped Leather Pumps
This ensemble with a black and white chevron sleeveless top and a black pencil skirt isn't a hard one to score and leaves room to more experimentation. And if you need to instantly elevate this getup with shoes, why not introduce black and white horizontal striped leather pumps to this ensemble?View Details
Women's Grey Horizontal Striped Oversized Sweater, Khaki Chevron Jeans, Tan Leather Heeled Sandals
For a casual ensemble, consider wearing a grey horizontal striped oversized sweater and khaki chevron jeans — these two pieces work perfectly well together. Get a bit experimental on the shoe front and spruce up your look by rounding off with tan leather heeled sandals.View Details

2. Another Texture

A different texture, like knitwear or lace, totally counts as another pattern! Pair your chevron printed skirt or trousers with a cable sweater or a lace top for a cool, eclectic look.

3. Graphic

4. Polka Dot

5. Check

6. Leopard

7. Floral

What patterns go with paisley

Paisley is a popular design motif that features a teardrop-shaped vegetable and a spray of floral elements. While its western name 'paisley' derives from the town of Paisley, Scotland, where paisley designs were produced, the pattern is actually traced back to the Indo-European cultures of over 2000 years ago. Paisley is a recurring trend in fashion as well, and when it comes to mixing prints, it pairs well with stripes and polka dots.

1. Stripes

You'll find paisley printed bandanas very handy in your pattern mixing game. They are a cool and subtle way to incorporate a second pattern, particularly paisley, into your outfit.

2. Polka Dot

What patterns go with tartan

Tartan (often called plaid in North America) is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Check out the patterns, with which you can mix tartan.

1. Stripes

Women's Grey Plaid Coat, White and Black Horizontal Striped Crew-neck T-shirt, Navy Skinny Jeans, Black Leather Over The Knee Boots
This laid-back combo of a grey plaid coat and navy skinny jeans is super easy to throw together in next to no time, helping you look beyond chic and ready for anything without spending a ton of time combing through your wardrobe. On the footwear front, this getup is rounded off perfectly with black leather over the knee boots.View Details
Women's Black Quilted Leather Biker Jacket, Red and Navy Plaid Dress Shirt, White and Black Horizontal Striped Crew-neck T-shirt, Blue Ripped Skinny Jeans
This casual combination of a black quilted leather biker jacket and blue ripped skinny jeans is effortless, seriously stylish and extremely easy to imitate! You could perhaps get a little creative when it comes to shoes and smarten up this ensemble with a pair of brown suede ankle boots.View Details
Women's Black Plaid Dress Shirt, White and Black Horizontal Striped Crew-neck T-shirt, Black Ripped Skinny Jeans, Black Leather Ankle Boots
This off-duty combination of a black plaid dress shirt and black ripped skinny jeans is super easy to throw together in no time flat, helping you look chic and ready for anything without spending too much time searching through your wardrobe. Feeling experimental? Jazz things up with a pair of black leather ankle boots.View Details

2. Letter Print

Women's Red Plaid Dress Shirt, White and Black Print V-neck T-shirt, Black Leather Leggings, Black Suede Ankle Boots
This laid-back combo of a red plaid dress shirt and black leather leggings is very easy to pull together in next to no time, helping you look amazing and prepared for anything without spending too much time combing through your closet. If you wish to instantly up the style ante of your look with footwear, why not introduce black suede ankle boots to your outfit?View Details

3. Another texture

Tartan looks good against chunky knitwear and denim, so consider layering your plaid shirt under a cable sweater or pairing it with a denim shirt or jacket.

4. Leopard

5. Camo

6. Floral

7. Double Plaid or Plaid on Windowpane

Women's White and Black Plaid Dress Shirt, Black and White Check Skinny Pants, Black Leather Loafers
This pairing of a white and black plaid dress shirt and black and white check skinny pants will prove your styling savvy even on lazy days. A pair of black leather loafers finishes off this look very well.View Details

What patterns go with gingham

Gingham is a pattern that combines checks and stripes. It is formed by horizontal and vertical stripes (usually of the same color) that cross each other on a white background to form even checks. Scroll down for the patterns that lend themselves well to gingham check.

1. Floral

Women's White Floral Skater Dress, Red and White Gingham Dress Shirt
Teaming a white floral skater dress with a red and white gingham dress shirt is a nice idea for a cool and casual outfit.View Details
Women's Yellow Gingham Dress Shirt, Yellow Floral Maxi Skirt, Navy Low Top Sneakers
A yellow gingham dress shirt and a yellow floral maxi skirt are a good look worth having in your day-to-day rotation. In the shoe department, go for something on the casual end of the spectrum by finishing off with a pair of navy low top sneakers.View Details

2. Letter Print

Women's White and Black Print Crew-neck T-shirt, Black and White Gingham Skinny Pants, Black Leather Pumps, Blue Leather Tote Bag
A white and black print crew-neck t-shirt and black and white gingham skinny pants worn together are a total eye candy for those who appreciate relaxed looks. Here's how to give this ensemble an extra dose of sophistication: black leather pumps.View Details

3. Leopard

4. Fair Isle

5. Stripes

6. Double Gingham

What patterns go with houndstooth

Houndstooth, or dogtooth, is a two-toned (most often black and white) pattern that consists of small broken or jagged checks.

1. Polka Dot

Solange Knowles looks amazing in this combination of a polka dot top and a houndstooth midi skirt accessorized with leopard pumps.

2.Graphic

3. Stripes

How to mix three patterns

When you've mastered combining two different prints, it's time to move onto bigger things: try mix-and-matching three patterns in one outfit. The important rule here is to find one color in all three pieces that will pull the outfit together. Check out the look below. Note how the color navy in the striped sweater, the gingham shirt and the dotted skirt brings the look together, while the red stripes on the sweater add a pop of color.

Do you like the featured outfits? These are some of the most stylish and popular combinations out there. But you can also filter out the outfits you see to match your own clothes.

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